Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 17

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 17

“Your power comes from the songs.”

–Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN

If you do not know any of the songs, ask an Elder to teach you. Get yourself a drum. When you sing a song and play the drum, you’ll be surprised how your mind, body, and spirit will react. Everything becomes calm and joyful. Our bodies love the songs. The songs allow us to touch the hand of the Creator. When we sing and touch the Great Spirit’s hand, He gives us power. Songs are another way to pray.

My Grandfather, teach me a song today.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – May 15

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – May 15

“We must have respect and understanding for women and all female life on this Earth which bears the sacred gift of life.”

–Traditional Circle of Elders. ONONDAGA

At a gathering of Native Elders we were told that many men of today had lost their ability to look at the Woman in a sacred way. They said we were only looking at Her in a physical sense and had lost the ability to look at Her sacredness. They said the Woman has a powerful position in the Unseen World. She has the special ability to bring forth life. They told us to start showing Her respect and to look upon her in a sacred manner. We must start this today.

Grandfather, show me how to see in a sacred way.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 28

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 28

“Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness.”

–Walking Buffalo, STONEY

There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn’t mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.

Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 19

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 19

“To be able to greet the sun with the sounds from all of Nature is a great blessing, and it helps us to remember Who is the real provider of all of our benefits.”

–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

The Elders say we should pray to the East every morning. Just try it! Get up early in the morning, watch the sun and listen to the morning sounds, the birds, the winds; smell the air, feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. Your mid will expand and you will experience oneness with the Great Spirit. You’ll realize who is really in charge. You’ll realize an interconnectedness. You’ll realize how much the Creator loves you! Just try it!

Great Spirit, today, let me feel the Earth, the Father Sun and your presence.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 15

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 15

“We must have respect and understanding for women and all female life on this Earth which bears the sacred gift of life.”

–Traditional Circle of Elders. ONONDAGA

At a gathering of Native Elders we were told that many men of today had lost their ability to look at the Woman in a sacred way. They said we were only looking at Her in a physical sense and had lost the ability to look at Her sacredness. They said the Woman has a powerful position in the Unseen World. She has the special ability to bring forth life. They told us to start showing Her respect and to look upon her in a sacred manner. We must start this today.

Grandfather, show me how to see in a sacred way.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 12

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 12

“All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song.”

—- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

To believe that every tree, plant and insect can talk takes an open mind. Go by yourself into nature and sit quietly. Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts. After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock. Your thoughts will change. These are the voices and wisdom of the Stone People. Each one has different wisdom and they are willing to share their wisdom with you. Many of the Stone People are very old and very wise.

Great Spirit, let every rock and leaf be my teacher.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 5

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 5

“There are many things to be shared with the four colors of man in our common destiny as one family upon our Mother the Earth.”

—- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE

The Elders tell us the time will come when the four colors of Man will unite into one family. According to prophecies, we were told this would happen when the Sun was blocked in the Seventh Moon. There was an eclipse of the Sun in July, 1991. We are now in a new Springtime called the Coming Together Time. Each of the four colors of man has knowledge that the other colors need to heal their families. Let us all be willing to sit in a circle and respect our differences.

Creator, let me be willing to have an open mind

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 5

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 5

“There are many things to be shared with the four colors of man in our common destiny as one family upon our Mother the Earth.”

—- Traditional Circle of Elders, NORTHERN CHEYENNE

The Elders tell us the time will come when the four colors of Man will unite into one family. According to prophecies, we were told this would happen when the Sun was blocked in the Seventh Moon. There was an eclipse of the Sun in July, 1991. We are now in a new Springtime called the Coming Together Time. Each of the four colors of man has knowledge that the other colors need to heal their families. Let us all be willing to sit in a circle and respect our differences.

Creator, let me be willing to have an open mind.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 28

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 28

“Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness.”

–Walking Buffalo, STONEY

There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn’t mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.

Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road.

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Author: Patricia Telesco 

I have been very disturbed by the increase in the use of titles like Priest, Priestess, Elder, Teacher, Shaman, Lady, and Lord in our community, specifically by those who really do not have the training to claim such honorable terms. You would not see anyone in the Christian church calling themselves by such a title without ordination and schooling, yet among neo-pagans it seems that nearly anyone who wishes to can take up a title and wield it for boon or bane.

Now, I realize that at the heart of things we are our own Priest and Priestess, but that’s far different than being the spiritual guide for many people (not to mention the difference in Karmic implications). To use a title without having earned it in the eyes of others, through training, or by calling is to dishonor all those who have earned their place as our teachers, elders, priests and priestesses. It also doesn’t present the most positive, responsible image of neo-paganism to outsiders who view such antics as manipulative power trips (often rightly so).

Reading one book does not make anyone an expert. Attending a year’s worth or rituals does not qualify a person for eldership or priesthood! In a world of seemingly shake-and-bake shamanism and instant priesthood, the route to true magical mastery isn’t traversed quickly or without sacrifice, and it can’t be found in the yellow pages. And it certainly has very little to do with a fancy or powerful sounding title. At its pinnacle, adepthood isn’t about impressing people; it’s a way of living and being. In other words, the focus is not on “talking the talk,” but on “walking the walk.” What are some of the signs of a true elder, master or priest?

How about someone who:

  1. Reclaims ancient knowledge, tradition, and powers, keeping them alive for future generations
  2. Safeguards magical history so that we can learn from the past in building the future
  3. Personally accepts the responsibility implied by gaining and using mystical knowledge and skill
  4. Honors the earth as a sacred space and use its resources wisely
  5. Acknowledges that life is an act of worship, and strives to keep his or her words and actions in accord
  6. Respects individual diversity, knowing there are many paths to enlightenment and that each person is a sacred space unto themselves.
  7. Embraces creativity and change as a fundamental necessity in keeping magic vital
  8. Encourages balance in all things, especially in his or her own life
  9. Teaches others the ways of magic in simple, understandable steps (no “instant enlightenment” no fluffy bunny magick).
  10. Offers metaphysical aid, consultation, and insights freely to those in need, without personal expectations of gain
  11. Gives back something to their art, or those who practice it
  12. Realizes that tools are only helpmates to magic. Real power comes from the mind, heart, and will working in harmony with earth and Spirit.

In some ways a priest or elder doesn’t ever “arrive” — we are always getting there, realizing that the more we know, the more we realize how LITTLE we know (smile). When we finally reach this understanding, we’re often ready to teach and lead with both heart and head; in balance is spiritual wisdom. In fact, I would hazard to guess that most people who are truly our priests, priestesses, elders and teachers are those who don’t have to say so – we just know it by the example of their lives!

Patricia Telesco,

What is an elder?

What is an elder?

Author: Patricia Telesco 

This question lays heavy on our community’s heart. It seems simple on the surface, but is not so simple when we examine proverbial brass tacks.

I think most of us have grown very weary of people who misuse honored titles like elder and teacher, thinking that reading one book, attending a few lectures, or going to a few gatherings qualifies them to be at the forefront of the neo-pagan movement. In fact, such individuals are the ones who are setting us back decades. Why? Because they have not researched, they have not lived their faith in word and deed, they have not worked hard for their freedoms, or built those cornerstones necessary to responsible eldership (note the operative term: responsible).

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we have taken a back seat approach to these situations. It seems we’re more content to complain than to try and change things. And those of us who aren’t complaining fall back on the excuse that neo-paganism as a non-conformist, vision-driven, tolerance based faith, doesn’t have the right to judge others or impose stricture. I personally think that is a huge load of hooey and a cop out. When a purported neo-pagan misrepresents the whole of our community, and specifically our elders who deserve respect, it is long past time for action, and long past the space in which we can coddle and handhold.

But let me back track for a moment… that still leaves us with the question of “if these ego driven prima-donnas aren’t elders then who qualifies? Ok, so that wasn’t overly politically correct, but sadly many people who thrust themselves into the public eye as “important” — aren’t. In fact, I would hazard to say that one of the most determining characteristics of an elder is that they need not say so. Instead, the true elder often prefers to work quietly in the background toward specific goals without flash and fanfare (flash and fanfare just distracts and puts schedules all out of kilter).

Elder implies maturity (be that maturity mental, spiritual or physical). I have seen teens in our community act with more maturity than those in their 40’s! So age cannot be the whole determining factor in Eldership.

Elder also implies wisdom: someone who has “been there, done that, has the t-shirt, and dozens of coffee mugs.” It is unreasonable and irresponsible to call anyone without a healthy portion of life experience under his or her belt an “elder.” A good example of this comes from the Bible wherein those associated with Moses in the government of the people were elders.

This brings us to a third intimation of eldership – namely involvement. To be a recognized elder of any community you have to be in touch with, and involved with that community on an intimate level. I would even hazard to take this definition one step further and say involved as a role model (be it teacher, healer, priest/ess, or whatever).

In the New England Churches at the turn of the century there were different sects of elders. Some taught, some were clergy, and some guided executive matters. I suspect considering our times that our true elders likely fulfill at least one (if not all) of these functions.

When one exhibits wisdom in the way they live their lives, it’s normal for others to be attracted by that unique approach. It’s inspiring, motivational, and thought-provoking. When one responds to the voice of Spirit with service, it’s normal for others to honor that service. When one guides gently, inspirationally, and cleverly, it’s normal for others to seek out that guidance.

In studying the world’s religious traditions, there seems to be some other guidelines to eldership that the neo-pagan movement might do well to adopt. They include:

  • Elders honor knowledge and tradition both in the way they live and in their interaction with others. This does not exclude creativity or innocent wonder, but instead embraces them.
  • Elders protect history, while always remaining aware of the now and the future
  • Elders accept responsibility for action (or inaction) according to their level of spiritual awareness and skill
  • Elders honor the earth as a sacred space and treat it accordingly Similarly, elders honor all living things and respect diversity (knowing there are many paths to enlightenment)
  • Elders see life as the act of worship, and everything else as “extras”
  • Elders strive for truthfulness and realness
  • Elders teach, offer aid, consult, and provide insights, without expectation of personal gain
  • Elders give back something to their art(s)
  • Elders know that they have only just begun to “master” spirituality (the process of learning never ends unless we close the doors)

Certainly this list is abbreviated and generalized, but it provides a good standard to which we could strive if we wished. Being powerful isn’t the focus of eldership, nor is waiving a title beneath someone’s nose, it’s doing the work that needs to be done with all the skill and knowledge available to you. It’s living your life in a truly unique way — one that never says “hey look at me, I’m an elder” but one that simply leaves that awareness on people’s spirit. I truly believe if your life has been touched by such a soul, that you may never remember their name but you will always remember the influence they left behind, which is an even greater legacy.

Eldership is sometimes thankless (not everyone wants to hear the truth; not everyone wants responsible use of power) but it also can be glorious. The difference is in how our community treats our true elders. Do we respect them? Do we uplift them? Do we hold and heal them? They are a TREASURE. If we do not carefully guard the real treasures and weed out those that are nothing more than fool’s gold, we do a terrible disservice to our whole community and it’s public image, not to mention those people who have served us diligently, tirelessly, and lovingly.

Let’s make our honored titles mean something. Let’s dare to stand up to puffed up “leaders” and express our concern, if not our appal. This isn’t about just you, or just me… it’s about our whole way of life and who we choose to guide our future by history’s example. When people look at the chronicles of the neo-pagan movement of this century my question to you is: who do you want to see as the movers and shakers? Who do you embrace as your elders. Make your choice wisely.

Patricia Telesco,

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 22

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 22

“Each creature has a medicine, so there are many medicines. Because they are so close to the Creator, they are to communicate that medicine. Then they bring help and health.”

–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

The Elders say everything has a purpose and everything has a will. We should never interfere with purpose or the will of everything. Every plant, creature, animal, insect, human being has a purpose to be here on the Earth. Each has a special medicine to contribute for the good of all things. Each person also has good medicine, a special talent, a special gift. These medicines are to help others or to help make us healthy. What is your special medicine?

Creator, today, help me discover and use my medicine to serve a greater good.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 21

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 21

“Conciliation is the key to survival. Peace is the goal.”

–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

When we make decisions or experience conflict we need to look at the greater whole. The end result we want to accomplish is peace of mind. If we keep this goal in mind, we will, overall, live a happy and fulfilling life. Everything in the world is constantly changing so we should not resist this change. A good question to ask ourselves is, “Would I rather be right or happy?” If we would rather be happy, then it is easier to let the little things go. If we would rather be right, we tend to look for the WIN/LOSE.

Great Spirit, today, give me the tools to seek peace of mind.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 17

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 17

“Women know more about love than men do…Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other.”

–Mary Leitka, HOH

The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.

Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 10

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 10

“Together we can end the Holocaust against the environment.”

–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

We are all familiar with the Holocaust against the people. When this happens we feel bad and we vow never to let it happen again. We need to seriously examine what human beings are doing to the Earth and the environment. Many species are extinct and many more will become extinct during the next 10 years. We are methodically eliminating life that will never return again. Today, we should take time to pray real hard so we wake up before it is too late.

Great Spirit, today, I pray for us to awaken to what we are doing.